Consider: A 20-something woman walks into a bakery named Immaculate Risings — the double entendre refers to both Jesus’ resurrection and dough’s amazing transformation while in a hot oven. The woman proceeds to the counter to make her order. After the baker bids her good day and asks how he can assist her, the woman requests a cake to commemorate her first abortion. The baker, a portly, elderly chap pauses for a moment. Shaking his head, and as a result, the gleaming cross that dangles in front of a flour-stained apron, he apologizes and says he cannot bake such a cake because doing so would affirm what he believes to be murder. He quotes the Sixth Commandment and cites the implications about the unborn found in Jeremiah 1:5 for justification. His response infuriates the woman. She stamps out of Immaculate Risings after a few choice words about “checking privilege” and “perpetuating the violence of the patriarchy” interspersed with a few other choice words. A couple days later, the Christian baker receives a letter informing him that someone reported him as in violation of the state’s public accommodation statute, and he thusly is summoned to court for his alleged discrimination.
But did he, in point of fact, discriminate? Is he also morally guilty of bigotry toward women? Of sexism? Did he deny service to the woman on the grounds of her sex? Does he have a problem about serving women because of some irrational prejudice against them?
Putting aside the legality of his refusal, I hope you see that the answers to these questions are an unequivocal “no,” and manifestly so. Withholding service so as not to condone abortion is not tantamount to withholding service on the basis of sex. Undergoing an abortion is not the same thing as having female reproductive parts even if having female reproductive parts is necessary to undergo an abortion. The baker is not discriminating by personal characteristics but personal behavior. So it’s bonkers to confuse his refusal with either an implicit or overt chauvinistic attitude about women somehow being unfit to consume his baked goods. He regularly and happily sells to women in a host of other contexts. His livelihood depends on sales and commissioned jobs; why would he endanger his bottom line by ruling out half of the population for his clientele? Religiously inspired or not, it’s obvious the baker harbors no animus towards the fairer sex. There is a clear ontological distinction in objecting to the act a person commits rather than the person himself.
Then why don’t progressives grant it and the benefit of the doubt when it comes to Christian bakers, florists and the like who refuse to cater to same-sex weddings, the most recent being the decision in State of Washington v. Arlene’s Flowers on Feb. 16?
I propose, mutatis mutandis, there is no relevant difference between saying “no” to baking a cake to celebrate a same-sex wedding and saying “no” to baking a cake to celebrate an abortion. As ruled by the Supreme Court, there are constitutional rights to abortion and same-sex marriage. Both involve leftist pet classes in apparent need of protection. Sex and sexual orientation are both considered as innate immutable characteristics like race. Plus, they both feature freely chosen acts that emanate from those immutable characteristics. After all, in the words of its advocates, abortion is a “choice.” Presumably, saying “I do” is too.
Furthermore, whether feminists actually call for abortion cakes out of some perverse sense of entitlement on any sort of regular basis misses what’s of consequence (though in the age of “Abortion Selfies,” #shoutyourabortion, and Teen Vogue publishing a post-abortion gift guide, it’s perhaps not as farfetched as it sounds). It’s not a matter of the occurrence being hypothetical or rare — so are Christians’ refusals to participate in same-sex weddings. The thought experiment shows that there is no meaningful difference, in principle, between requesting either a cake for an abortion or a same-sex wedding.
Then what could account for a potential discrepancy in plausible attitudes between the two cases? If it’s “nay” for abortion but also “yea” for same-sex wedding, then, in that case, progressives have some explaining to do.
But suppose the progressive is an equal opportunity social justice warrior, meaning he doesn’t discriminate in this regard; no, he’s uniformly ruthless. “Let them both eat cake!” he declares.
Then to hell with you – authoritarianism flows way, way too heatedly and quickly in your blood. The progressives who would oppose forcing socially conservative Christians to honor an abortion at least would vacillate in their totalitarianism, perhaps on account of having a few remaining liberal bones in their bodies. Their selective preference for compelling someone to disobey his conscience, though still worrisome, would be most likely a function of faddish social pressure instead of thorough contemplation on the matter.
On the contrary, the social justice warriors, who would be for compelling everyone in every case, are ossified ideologues. That’s what makes them despicable people. It’s not because of their skin color, religion, sexual orientation or pursuit thereof, but petty vindictiveness. For a perceived slight, a mere dispute in morals, these “victims” and their supporters consistently elect for a hundredfold retaliation: Bring to bear the power of the state to enact financial ruin on their enemies and transgressors ultimately at the behest of a governmental gun barrel. These self-righteous people are not only okay with all that in principle but openly and often lavishly clamor for it.
And somehow conservative Christians are the oppressors imposing their values on everybody else? Yeah, when Lena Dunham and her ilk actually vacate the country.
Try not to run into Trump’s Wall on the way out.
- After Veritas: Why journalists are so poor at their jobs, part 1 - March 28, 2017
- The Curious Case of the Christian Abortion Cake - March 4, 2017
- Je suis Jordan Peterson! - December 4, 2016
- Trick or Treat: Social Justice Warrior as Constant Cultural Appropriator - October 31, 2016